Florence Y'alls

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Florence Y'alls
Information
LeagueFrontier League (West Division)
LocationFlorence, Kentucky
BallparkThomas More Stadium
Founded1994
League championships3 (1994, 1995, 2000)
Division championships5 (1995, 1997, 2000, 2017, 2021)
Former name(s)
  • Erie Sailors (1994)
  • Johnstown Steal (1995–98)
  • Johnstown Johnnies (1998–2002)
  • Florence Freedom (2003–2019)
ColorsRed, cream white, sky blue[1]
     
OwnershipFreedom Baseball Club LLC
ManagerChad Rhoades
General ManagerMax Johnson
MediaThe Cincinnati Enquirer
Websitewww.florenceyalls.com

The Florence Y'alls are a professional baseball team based within the Greater Cincinnati region in the city of Florence, Kentucky.[2] The Y'alls compete in the Frontier League (FL) as a member of the West Division.[2] Since 2004, they have played their home games at Thomas More Stadium, which is located near Interstates 71 and 75.[3]

The Y'alls franchise has won three Frontier League championships. However, these titles came when the team existed as the Erie Sailors (1994), Johnstown Steal (1995), and Johnstown Johnnies (2000). The franchise is currently tied with the Rockford RiverHawks (including years as Portsmouth and Springfield), the Schaumburg Boomers, and the River City Rascals (including years as Zanesville) for the most league championships with each franchise winning three.[4]

History[edit]

The team began in Erie, Pennsylvania, as the Erie Sailors in 1994, before moving to Point Stadium in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1995, where it was first known as the Johnstown Steal then the Johnstown Johnnies beginning in 1998.[5] The team won two Frontier League championships in their time in Johnstown, one in 1995 as the Steal and one in 2000 as the Johnnies.[4] The team was sold after the 2002 season and moved to Florence, where it became known as the Freedom.[6]

2003[edit]

The Freedom played their 2003 home games at Foundation Field in Hamilton, Ohio, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Cincinnati, while the ownership group was building a new stadium (Champion Window Field) in Florence.[7] The team was managed by former major leaguer Tom Browning. The Freedom finished in last place, setting a then-league record with 61 losses, but featured future major leaguer Chris Jakubauskas, who would go 4-9 (5.11 ERA) for the Freedom.[8] The team averaged fewer than 500 fans per game in attendance.[9]

2004[edit]

In 2004, the Freedom opened Champion Window Field in Florence. The park opened on June 18, with the Freedom losing to the Washington Wild Things 10–6 before a crowd of 4,453 fans. On July 7, after a poor start to the season, manager Tom Browning was fired. Pete Rose Jr., took over for one game, but quit after making a decision to continue his playing career. Mike Easler was then hired and finished the season. The Freedom ended the season with a 31–65 record, finishing in last place for the second consecutive year.[9]

Ownership scandal[edit]

In July 2004, shortly after the opening of Champion Window Field, contractors began filing liens against the Freedom, accusing the team of not paying for work done on the stadium. Eventually, 33 liens totaling US$4.7 million were filed. In August, Fifth Third Bank sued team part-owner Chuck Hildebrant for failing to repay multiple loans taken out to finance the stadium construction. As part of the lawsuit, it was revealed that Hildebrant had used 204 acres (0.83 km2) of land that he did not own as collateral for the loans, and that he had given the bank a forged document as proof of ownership.[10] Hildebrant was later the subject of a federal white collar crime investigation and sentenced to prison in October 2005.[11] The team was sold in November 2004 to a new ownership group led by Clint Brown, who was not associated with Hildebrant's ownership group.[12]

2005–06[edit]

In 2005, former Chillicothe Paints manager Jamie Keefe was signed as the team's new manager. Keefe led the Freedom to their first winning record (53–42). The team finished tied for second place in the Frontier League's East Division, missing out on the playoffs by a tiebreaker. Three Freedom players hit more than 20 home runs in 2005—outfielder Mike Galloway (24), designated hitter Kyle Geswein (24), and first baseman Trevor Hall (23). closer Ted Rowe tied for the league lead in saves with 17.[9]

In 2006, the Freedom had a losing record of 38–50, finishing fifth in the Frontier League East Division.[9]

2007[edit]

In 2007, the Freedom again had a sub-.500 record, going 42–54 for the season. This placed the team third in the East Division. Outfielder Reggie Watson led the league in batting average (.357) and steals (20), while also winning the Home Run Derby at the 2007 Frontier League All-Star Game, hosted by Florence. Outfielder Ryan Basham earned the Frontier League Rookie of the Year award, hitting .298 with 17 home runs on the season.[9]

2007 Frontier League All-Star Game[edit]

In 2007, Champion Window Field, home of the Freedom, hosted its first Frontier League All-Star Game, with the Freedom's East Division winning 11–3. The Freedom's Reggie Watson had three runs batted in and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. The game's attendance of 4,483 set a new attendance record for Florence.[13]

2008[edit]

In 2008, the team finished with a 47–49 record, missing a playoff spot by four games. For the first time, the Freedom attracted over 100,000 fans to Champion Window Field, with a total of 106,707 fans for the year.[9]

Uniform changes[edit]

In early 2008, the Freedom changed their primary colors from red, white, and blue to black, red, and silver.[14]

2009[edit]

In 2009, the Freedom opened against the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti at home on May 20.[15] Florence opened 2009 with two major changes—FieldTurf instead of a natural grass surface and a new coaching staff.[16] Toby Rumfield became the new field manager, and Freedom alumni Greg Stone, the Freedom's all-time hit leader, as hitting coach and Bill Browett as pitching coach.[17]

2018[edit]

Clint Brown died in January 2018 after 15 years as team president and owner.[18] He was succeeded by his widow, Kim Brown.[19]

2019[edit]

Sale of the team to a group of local investors was finalized July 2019.[19] In October 2019, the new owners announced a rebranding of the team for the 2020 season, dropping the name Freedom immediately.[20] The new team name, Florence Y'alls, was announced in January 2020.[1] The team takes its new name from the local Florence Y'all Water Tower.[21]

2020[edit]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frontier League canceled their 2020 season and did not play.

2021[edit]

The Y'alls successfully returned to the playoffs, capturing their fifth division title. However, they lost the first round to the Schaumburg Boomers 3 games to 1.

2022[edit]

In March 2022, the Y'alls and Thomas More University partnered to rename the home of the Florence Y'alls Thomas More Stadium. As part of the agreement, the stadium will also become the home of the Thomas More Saints baseball team starting in Spring 2023.[22][23] Unfortunately, the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018.[citation needed]

2023[edit]

The 2023 season was another disappointing one for the Y'alls as they missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.[citation needed]

Seasons[edit]

Erie Sailors (Frontier League)
Year W-L PCT Place Postseason
1994[24] 42–25 .627 2nd in FL East Won 1st Round Playoff vs. Ohio Valley 2–0.
Won Frontier League Championship vs. Lancaster Scouts 2–0.
Total 42–25 .627
Playoffs 4–0 1.000 1 Playoff appearance, 1 Championship
Johnstown Steal/Johnnies (Frontier League)
1995[25] 46–23 .667 1st in FL Won 1st Round Playoff vs. Richmond Roosters 2–0.
Won Frontier League Championship vs. Zanesville Greys 2–0.
1996[25] 41–33 .554 2nd in FL East Lost 1st Round Playoff vs. Chillicothe Paints 2–1.
1997[25] 47–33 .588 1st in FL East Lost 1st Round Playoff vs. Canton Crocodiles 2–0.
1998[25] 34–43 .442 3rd in FL East Did not qualify
1999[25] 43–41 .512 3rd in FL East Lost 1st Round Playoff vs. London Werewolves 2–0.
2000[25] 48–36 .571 1st in FL East Won 1st Round Playoff vs. London Werewolves 2–0.
Won Frontier League Championship vs. Evansville Otters 3–1.
2001[25] 44–40 .524 4th in FL East Did not qualify
2002[25] 30–54 .357 6th in FL East Did not qualify
Total 333–303 .524
Playoffs 8–9 .471 3 Division titles, 5 Playoff appearances, 2 Championships
Florence Freedom/Y'alls (Frontier League)
2003[9] 27–61 .307 6th in FL East Did not qualify
2004[9] 31–65 .323 6th in FL East Did not qualify
2005[9] 53–42 .558 3rd in FL East Did not qualify
2006[9] 38–56 .404 5th in FL East Did not qualify
2007[9] 42–54 .438 3rd in FL East Did not qualify
2008[9] 47–49 .490 4th in FL East Did not qualify
2009[9] 49–47 .510 3rd in FL East Did not qualify
2010[9] 38–58 .396 5th in FL East Did not qualify
2011[9] 39–57 .406 6th in FL East Did not qualify
2012[26] 57–39 .594 2nd in FL East Won 1st Round Playoff vs. Gateway Grizzlies 3–2.
Lost Frontier League Championship vs. Southern Illinois Miners 3–1.
2013[9] 53–43 .552 3rd in FL East Did not qualify
2014[9] 41–55 .427 5th in FL East Did not qualify
2015[27] 49–47 .510 3rd in FL East Lost Frontier League Play-in Game vs. River City Rascals 6–5[28]
2016[29] 46–49 .484 4th in FL West Did not qualify
2017[30] 61–35 .635 1st in FL West Won 1st Round Playoff vs. Washington Wild Things 3–1.
Lost Frontier League Championship vs. Schaumburg Boomers 3–1.
2018[31] 49–47 .510 3rd in FL West Did not qualify
2019[32] 57–39 .594 2nd in FL West Won 1st Round Playoff vs. Lake Erie Crushers 3–0.
Lost Frontier League Championship vs. River City Rascals 3–2.
2020 - - - Season not played due to COVID-19
2021 57–38 .600 1st in FL West Lost 1st Round Playoff vs. Schaumburg Boomers 3–1.
2022 39–56 .411 7th in FL West Did not qualify
2023 38–58 .396 7th in FL West Did not qualify
Total 821–905 .480
Playoffs 13–13 .500 2 Division titles, 5 Playoff appearances

Current roster[edit]

Active roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 13 Evan Brabrand
  • 25 Joe Dougherty
  • 71 Nathan Florence
  • 29 Sean Hughes
  • 85 Ernesto Huizar
  • 19 Rodney Hutchison Jr. ‡
  • 14 Mike Kickham
  • 22 Michael Kirian
  • 17 Kent Klyman
  • 11 Edgar Martinez
  •  8 Brandon Mason
  •  2 Jake McMahill
  • 10 Cameron Pferrer
  • 65 Carter Poiry


Utility players

  • 23 Craig Massey
  •  5 Ray Zuberer
 

Catchers

  •  6 Cooper Edwards
  •  9 Jackson Pritchard

Infielders

  •  7 Jeremiah Burks
  • 24 Harrison DiNicola
  •  3 Brian Fuentes
  • 34 Logan Mathieu
  • -- Sam Plash
  • 70 Brennan Price
  •  4 Andres Rios

Outfielders

  •  1 Cole Brannen
  • 90 Marcos Castillo
  • 20 Taylor Olmstead
 

Manager

  • -- Chad Rhoades

Coaches

  • Taylor Bryant (hitting)
  • Jared Cheek (analytics)
  • David Heilbrunn (first base)
  • Eric Minshall (pitching)

Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

Roster updated May 25, 2023
Transactions

Alumni[edit]

Below is a list of Y'alls alumni who have gone on to play MLB-affiliated baseball. The alumni are sorted by peak level of baseball in which they have participated after playing for Florence. In total, 20 Y'alls alumni have signed professional contracts after playing for Florence, with five making the major leagues.[33]

As of July 3, 2021:

MLB[edit]

Player Year w/ FLO Current/Most recent team Active
Chris Jakubauskas[34] 2003 Columbus Clippers (AAA) No
Corey Thurman[35] 2005 York Revolution (Ind.) No
Steve Delabar[36] 2008 Round Rock Express No
Stephen Cardullo[37] 2012 High Point Rockers Yes
Aaron Wilkerson[38] 2013 Oklahoma City Dodgers Yes

AAA[edit]

Player Year w/ FLO Current/Most recent team Active
Daniel Touchet[39] 2005 Joliet JackHammers (Ind.) No
Michael DeMark[40] 2006 Tigres de Quintana Roo No

AA[edit]

Player Year w/ FLO Current/Most recent team Active
Elvys Quezada[41] 2008 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks No
Yosandy Ibanez[42] 2008 Pittsfield Colonials No
Erold Andrus[43] 2010 York Revolution No

A-Advanced[edit]

The following Freedom alumni have advanced as far as Class A-Advanced: Jason Tuttle (Freedom 2003),[44] Kevin Rival (2004),[45] Tim Turner (2004),[46] Mike Galloway (2005),[47] Heath Castle (2006),[48] Johnny Washington (2008)[49]

A[edit]

The following Freedom alumni have advanced as far as Class A: James Morrison (Freedom 2004),[50] Steven Pickerell (2005, 2009),[51] Joel Posey (2004–5),[52] Conor McGeehan (2006),[53] Tyler Evans (2007),[54] Neall French (2008)[55]

Short Season A[edit]

The following Freedom alumni have advanced as far as Class A-Short Season:

Rookie-Advanced[edit]

The following Freedom alumni have advanced as far as Rookie Advanced class: J.D. Foust (Freedom 2004)[56]

Rookie[edit]

The following Freedom alumni have advanced as far as Rookie Class: Reggie Watson (Freedom 2006–7),[57] Preston Vancil (Freedom 2010)[58]

  • Bold denotes alumnus' still being active in professional baseball.

Records[edit]

Below is a list of Frontier League individual records set by Y'alls players as of the end of the 2009 season.[59]

Individual game[edit]

  • Runs batted in – 9 by Garth McKinney on August 11, 2008 (three-way tie)
  • Hits – 6 by Matt Cooksey (2006), Nick Salotti (2007), and Garth McKinney (2008) (seven-way tie)
  • No-hitter – Preston Vancil on July 26, 2009

Single season[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rice, Briana (January 21, 2020). "Freedom no more: Introducing the Florence Y'alls". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Florence Y'alls". Frontier League. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "UC Health Stadium - Florence, Kentucky". ballparkreviews.com. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "League History". Frontier League. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  5. ^ "Point Stadium". DigitalBallparks.com. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  6. ^ "Point Stadium - Johnstown Pennsylvania - Former Home of the Johnstown Johnnies". DigitalBallparks.com. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  7. ^ O'Reilly, Charles. "Foundation Field, Hamilton, Ohio". Charlie's Big Baseball Parks Page. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  8. ^ "Chris Jakubauskas Independent, Minor & Winter Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com".
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Florence Freedom". Tim's Unofficial Frontier League History Page. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  10. ^ Edwards, Jennifer; Kelly, Brenna R. (September 14, 2004). "Family suing Freedom owner". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  11. ^ "Former team owner sentenced to five years over loans". FortWayne.com. Associated Press. October 21, 2005. Archived from the original on October 27, 2005. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  12. ^ Peale, Cliff (November 3, 2004). "Florence Freedom has a deal". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  13. ^ South pounds North at archives.record-eagle.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  14. ^ Freedom Introduce New Logo, Colors and Uniforms for 2008 at oursportscentral.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  15. ^ Sliders Spoil Freedom's Opening Day at florencefreedom.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  16. ^ Freedom Host First Game on New Turf Sunday at oursportscentral.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  17. ^ New Coaching Staff At Florence at frontierleague.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. 12/31/09[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Spedden, Zach (January 17, 2018). "In Memoriam: Clint Brown". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Florence Freedom Sale Finalized". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. July 26, 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  20. ^ Spedden, Zach (October 4, 2019). "Florence Freedom to Rebrand". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  21. ^ "Florence Y'all is more than just a water tower now. It's a team nickname". Lexington Herald-Leader. January 21, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  22. ^ Weber, James (March 1, 2022). "Florence Y'alls baseball franchise to rename home park as Thomas More Stadium". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  23. ^ "Thomas More University, Florence Y'alls teaming up, partnering to rename ballpark Thomas More Stadium". Northern Kentucky Tribune. March 2, 2022. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  24. ^ 1994 Frontier League at flhistory.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Johnstown Steal / Johnnies at flhistory.com, URL accessed December 31, 2009. Archived 12/31/09
  26. ^ "Florence Freedom". florence.bbstats.pointstreak.com.
  27. ^ "Frontier League". Frontier League.
  28. ^ "Frontier League". Frontier League.
  29. ^ "Frontier League". Frontier League.
  30. ^ "Frontier League". Frontier League.
  31. ^ "West Division - Frontier League - division standings". Pointstreak Sports Technologies.
  32. ^ "2019 Frontier League". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  33. ^ "Y'alls Alumni". florenceyalls.com. Florence Y'alls. March 16, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  34. ^ Chris Jakubauskas at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  35. ^ Corey Thurman at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  36. ^ "Steve Delabar Minor, Independent & Japanese Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  37. ^ "Stephen Cardullo Minor, Independent & Winter Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  38. ^ "Aaron Wilkerson Independent, Minor, Fall & Winter Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  39. ^ Daniel Touchet at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  40. ^ Michael DeMark at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  41. ^ Elvys Quezada at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  42. ^ Yosandy Ibanez at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  43. ^ Erold Andrus at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 8, 2010. Archived 5/8/10
  44. ^ Jason Tuttle at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  45. ^ Kevin Rival at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  46. ^ Tim Turner at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  47. ^ Mike Galloway at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  48. ^ Heath Castle at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  49. ^ Johnny Washington at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  50. ^ James Morrison at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  51. ^ Steven Pickerell at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  52. ^ Joel Posey at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  53. ^ Conor McGeehan at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  54. ^ Tyler Evans at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  55. ^ Neall French at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  56. ^ Justin Foust at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  57. ^ Reggie Watson at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  58. ^ Preston Vancil at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 5/8/10
  59. ^ League Records at frontierleague.com, URL accessed January 1, 2009. Archived 1/1/10

External links[edit]